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Reviews > Personal Hygiene > Towels > Lunatec Gear TrekrT and ScrubrT > Test Report by Cheryl McMurray
LUNATEC TREKR AND SCRUBR TOWELS
TEST SERIES BY CHERYL MCMURRAY
INITIAL REPORT August 29, 2011
FIELD REPORT November 22, 2011
LONG TERM REPORT January 24, 2011
Name: Cheryl McMurray
Height: 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Weight: 145 lb (66.6 kg)
Email Address: cherylmcmurray2ATgmailDOTcom
City, State, Country: Garden Grove, California, U.S.
I've been backpacking and hiking for four years, mostly on weekends year around. Overnight trips are usually long weekend trips in the Eastern Sierras with 32 lb to 40 lb (15 kg to 18 kg) loads depending on the season. One class two rock climb with a day pack is common. Day hikes are 10-15 mi (16 km to 24 km) in the San Gabriel Mountains with loads of 15 lb to 20 lb (7 kg to 9 kg). I'm a tent style camper and have experienced snow, sub-freezing temperatures, winds (once was gale force), light rain, but mostly fair weather.
Manufacturer's website: www.lunatecgear.com
Year of manufacture: 2011
Size: 10.6 in x 10.6 in (27 cm x 27 cm)
Weight: .3 oz (9 gm)
Material: 100% Nylon
MSRP: $8 US (2 pack)
Size: 7.8 in x 7.8 in (20 cm x 20 cm)
Weight: .26 oz (7.5 gm)
Material: 60% Nylon, 40% polyester
MSRP: $5.75 US (2 pack)
August 29, 2011
The Trekr travel washcloth is made from a durable QuickDri nylon material that is lightweight and rolls up compactly using the elastic loop to secure it. The manufacturer claims that it drip dries in about 15 minutes and resists odors due to an open weave of non-absorbent fibers. It has an exfoliating feature that claims to leave the skin feeling smooth while lathering great. It never needs to be washed because it rinses clean after every use. The manufacturer also claims that it can be used to pan for gold, along with using it as a kitchen strainer, however I don't think I'll get an opportunity to test the former claim, but who knows.
The Scrubr is a dishcloth/scouring pad that is made from a durable QuickDri nylon/polyester blend designed to clean cookware and kitchen gear due to its coarse texture. The manufacturer claims that it will also drip dry in 15 minutes and resist odor due to an open weave of non-absorbent fibers that enables it to rinse free of debris under normal use. It is also lightweight and rolls up compactly using the elastic loop to secure it. The manufacturer claims that it can be used as a coffee filter in a tight spot. I may give that a try.
When the package arrived in the mail it weighed next to nothing. The cloths came with a fact sheet and a small card that had usage tips for both the Trekr and Scrubr.
The material has a see-through type of weave to it and although I don't consider the feel of it soft, it feels fine against my skin. It rolls up nicely, secures with the elastic loop and measures 3.25 in (8 cm) x 1.75 in (4 cm) in diameter. There are a few small frays near the elastic loop but the manufacturer states that I can fuse them using a small flame. I usually bring wet wipes with me for my own personal clean up so I'm interested to see if the Trekr washcloth will take the place of that. I'll have to pack some soap that I usually would not bring so I don't think this towel will be saving me any weight, however if it does a better job and keeps me from using up the wet wipes, then it might be worth it from an ecological standpoint.
TREKR USAGE TIPS
*Trekr works best with soap and water.
*Trekr can be rolled up and secured with the elastic loop.
*Due to the fact that the Trekr can get a little slippery when it lathers, it is good to slide the loop over a finger and then wrap the Trekr around that hand, using the other hand for extra pressure.
*Tidy up any fraying with a lighter or match.
The Scrubr dishcloth also has a see-through type of weave to it and has a much more coarse feel to it than the Trekr. It rolls up quite small, secures with the elastic loop and measures 2.25 in (6 cm) x 1.25 in (3 cm) in diameter. It has a life of 3 months with daily use. I usually clean my cooking pot with a rubber scrapper and then some wet napkins so I'll be using the Scrubr in place of the napkins.
SCRUBR USAGE TIPS
*Clean the Scrubr by adding a little soap to it, roll it up into a ball between the palms and rub it back and forth, then rinse it out.
*Tidy up any fraying ends with a lighter or match.
*Scrubr can be rolled up and secured with elastic loop.
TRYING IT OUT
I used some diluted concentrated biodegradable soap in some water and dipped the Trekr in it. I did not lather up much but I think that was due to the type of soap that I was using which is the same soap I'll be using on trips. I then used some liquid soap undiluted on the Trekr and it did lather up quite a bit. I haven't done any exfoliating in the past so I'm not sure what results I should be feeling or seeing but the Trekr seemed to do fine on my face and arms, not feeling too abrasive. I hung the Trekr outside in the sun with a light breeze and a 90 F (32 C) temperature. All but the elastic loop and the tip was dry in 10 min. The towel tip was dry in 14 min and the elastic loop took 20 min. I didn't have any real dirt on me so I'll wait until the field test to determine how well the towel does with rinsing clean as I use it and how well it cleans me. I was able to tidy up the frays nicely with a lighter.
I used the Scubr dishcloth to clean a pan that I cooked some flavored rice in. It did clean up the pan nicely but I noticed that there was a stain/debris left after rinsing the towel. I did not follow the instructions by using soap and rubbing it back and forth, however, so that might have been the cause. I gave a little more effort to rinsing the Scrubr under the faucet and it did rinse clean so what I saw left behind was some debris and not a stain. I'm not planning on using any soap on it during trips due to the extra work but I will if it proves to be a better way to clean it. After hanging the Scrubr in the sun with a light breeze and a temperature of 95 F (35 C) the main part of the Scrubr dried in 10 min. The elastic loop took 15 min to dry and the tip of cloth was dry in 20 min.
This will be a very different system of cleaning myself and my dishes than my usual wet wipes and napkins is. Right now I don't see this as an easier method due to the fact that I will need to carry an extra container for rinsing the towels not to mention soap for the Trekr and possibly clean-up for the Scrubr. I will, however, give it a go and maybe I'll surprise myself and find this method to be better.
FIELD TEST REPORT
November 22, 2011
TESTING LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Location: Hungry Pack Lake/Wallace Pk, Eastern Sierras near Bishop, California
Duration: 4 day, 3 night
Camp elevation: 11,000 ft (3,350 m)
Temperature: 36 F (2 C) to 70 F (21 C)
Conditions: Sunny, partly cloudy
Location: Dry Lake, San Bernardino Mts, Southern California
Duration: 2 night, 3 day
Camp Elevation: 9,000 ft (2,750 m)
Temperature: 28 F (-2 C) to 60 F (16 C)
Location: Mt. Baldy, San Gabriel Mts, Southern California
Duration: Day hike brunch
Cooking elevation: 10,000 (3,050 m)
Temperature: 65 F (18 C)
Trekr T: Shower
Scrubr T: Kitchen sink
USE IN THE OUTDOORS
I used the Trekr T on two backpacking trips as a washcloth replacement for my wet wipes.
Since I tend to get back to camp later in the afternoon cleaning up takes place later in the day when the temperature drops. I like my privacy when getting cleaned up and changing my clothes, so I do that sitting in my tent. My usual procedure with the wet wipes was to use 2-3 wet wipes each night when getting out of my dirty hiking clothes and changing into my clean night clothes. Since they are wet already, I just pull one out of my baggie and start the cleaning process until I'm done. With the Trekr T I had to use a different procedure. I brought an empty 1 qt (1 l) zip bag, added some water and a small amount of biodegradable soap and dipped the Trekr T into it. I then got most everything wiped down and rinsed the towel in the same baggie. I then hung it inside my vestibule to dry overnight.
One feature that I did not get to test in the backcountry was the lathering feature of the towel. The reason for that is that the biodegradable soap that is more eco-friendly is not a high lather type of soap. Also in order for me to have been able to test this, I would have needed a backcountry shower or wash basin for rinsing along with cleaning up outside of my tent which modesty did not permit. Since one of the features of this towel is the fact that it is lightweight, I felt that having to carry an extra shower or wash basin was counterproductive. In order to not add weight to my pack, I ended up using a 1 qt (1 l) zip plastic bag for wetting and rinsing. While cleaning up in my tent I found it difficult to squeeze enough water out of the Trekr T to keep it from dripping in my tent and consequently on my sleeping bag but managed it as best that I could. It is not designed for absorbency so that was to be expected. I was able to clean pretty much every area that needed cleaning but had to dip the towel back in the water to rinse it off. Since it was slightly soapy water, it did not rinse completely clean of the soap but was acceptable. I found the exfoliating feature of the towel to feel a little abrasive on my face so I really didn't care to use it that way, although it worked fine on the rest of me. The dirt did come off and I felt fairly clean afterwards. Since I clean up so late in the day, the sun was not available for drying so I just hung it in the vestibule and it was always dry by the time I woke up in the morning. The towel has never retained any of the dirt that I washed off of me so it did appear to rinse clean of dirt anyway. The Trekr T rolled up nice and small to fit into my personals bag.
USE AT HOME
This is where I really think that the Trekr T did a great job. I kept the towel hung on my shower head so that it was always handy. I exercise everyday so consequently I take a shower and use the towel everyday. I rub a bar of soap inside the towel and then just give the towel a rub between my hands and the lather really shows up. I get much more lather action going using the Trekr T than just using the bar alone and it's really nice. Since I have a constant flow of water, I put the towel under the shower head and rub it until the remaining soap quickly disappears. I then squeeze out any remaining water that I can and rehang it on the shower head. In the shower, the feel of the towel on my body feels fine but I still don't care for it against my face. After two months of use, the towel shows no wear and has no mildew smell. I have never needed to wash it in the laundry.
USE IN THE OUTDOORS
I've used the Scrubr T on two backpacking trips and one brunch hike.
The only meal that I have a dirty pot is dinner as I cook a pasta or rice dish each night. My usual procedure for cleaning my pot before I started using the Scrubr T was to use a small rubber scraper to scrape the edges and bottom clean as I ate from the pan (can't see the point of carrying an extra plate). Then after I finished, the pot would be fairly clean already and then I would just wet a napkin and finish the job. The Scrubr T replaced the napkin and after wetting it I'd finish cleaning the remaining debris out of the pot.
The pot that I used was a titanium non-stick coated pot. After my pre-cleaning with the rubber scraper, the remaining cleaning was minimal and the Scrubr T had no problems handling that job. The issue that I had was cleaning the Scrubr T. I only filter water once a day and since I had to use filtered water to clean it, it required me to use some of my drinking/cooking water which I aways calculated closely so I didn't have to bring extra water containers. In order to clean the dishcloth, I put some water into a zip baggie and tried to clean it that way. Unfortunately, not all of the food debris washed away. Ideally, it required some running water (filtered) to get it completely clean, which I did not have. I could have brought some sort of a wash basin but that would defeat the purpose of the lightweight feature of the Scrubr T.
The brunch hike I did also brought mixed results. I made an egg scramble in a titanium non-stick fry pan. This dish actually presented me with a much dirtier pan as the eggs did stick a bit. Since I didn't want to carry too much extra water and cleaning containers, I added some water from my hydration reservoir to a zip baggie. I dipped the Scrubr T in the water to get it wet and cleaned the pan. The pan cleaned up well with minimal effort.
I then tackled a pan that one of my friends cooked in (below). That pan was much dirtier than mine. It was also a non-stick pan which did aid in the ease of cleaning it but the Scrubr T handled the job very well. The issue that I had was the cleaning of the dishcloth. Since there was much more debris in the pan, thus sticking to the dishcloth, I was not able to get much of it off in the zip baggie with water so I ended up cleaning it at home under the sink.
The Scubr T never scratched any of the pots or pans and never damaged any of the non-stick coating.
USE AT HOME
I used the Scrubr T every day at home at the kitchen sink and while not in use, I kept it hung on a cabinet doorknob above the sink. Since there are only two of us and my cooking is pretty basic, there are not as many dishes to clean as a larger family might have but I had enough to test this. After wetting it under the running water and adding some dish soap, I'd scrub the dishes clean. The Scrubr T had no issues at all with cleaning anything from a lightly soiled dish to a heavily soiled dish or pot. Where I really loved the cleaning ability of the dishcloth was with my coffee cup. I was amazed at how well it cleaned the coffee and tea stains from my mug. I usually have to soak them with water and baking soda to get them that clean so that was something I really noticed. Another thing that I just loved about the Scrubr T was the fact that I never smelled any odor or mildew from it during the two months of use in the kitchen. I have never been able to say that about any normal dish cloth that I have used in the past. I have never had the need to add it to the laundry to clean it either. Under the running water of the sink, it always rinsed clean for me.
Both the Scrubr T and Trekr T have remained very durable and have showed no signs of wear.
WHAT I LIKE
Great lathering in the shower at home
Does not retain odor
Compact size, lightweight for backpacking
WHAT I DISLIKE
Was not very convenient to use in my tent
Rough feel against my face
WHAT I LIKE
Cleans dishes very well without scratching delicate non-stick surfaces
Retains no odor after extended periods of use
Lightweight and compact for backpacking
WHAT I DISLIKE
Hard to rinse debris off in the outdoors without clean running water
LONG TERM REPORT
JANUARY 24, 2012
I have used the Trekr T every day during the long term report in the shower after my morning 40 mi (64 km) bicycle rides, weekend day hikes and afternoon yoga classes.
The Trekr T has continued to lather very well and has performed well cleaning off all the dirt and sweat that accumulates on me after my activities. I still don't care for the feeling of it against my face but it's acceptable. It has continued to dry quickly hanging from the shower head and has never retained any dirt or developed any odor, although it has never been in the washing machine.
The Trekr T has held up really well with no signs of wear. There are no stains and the pretty blue color is still the same.
I really love the Trekr T for home use in the shower as it lathers well, dries fast and does not retain any odor or mildew. I have not found it to be a substitute for my wet naps during backpacking trips, though. I've found it too inconvenient for use in my tent due to the fact that it drips a little and my only water source for rinsing is extra filtered water in a baggie that I need to keep outside of the tent. Also, the soap that I use in the backcountry is biodegradable and not a lathering type of soap.
I've used the Scrubr T on one brunch hike, every day to clean the daily dishes, scrub out the microwave and as a soft brush for my yoga mat.
On the brunch hike the Scrubr T handled the job well of cleaning a pot that an egg scramble was cooked in. I did scrape it well first with a rubber scraper and then used the Scrubr T. It did not scratch the non-stick coating and did clean off the debris. I did not have extra filtered water to rinse it off so I finished cleaning it at home and rinsed the debris off under the faucet.
The Scrubr T worked so well at home for the daily dishes that I will be replacing any scrubber that I've used in the past with the Scrubr T. It took off everything from light debris to heavier stuff like melted cheese without scratching any surface of the pans or dishes. I was amazed as to how easy it was to clean my neglected microwave without scratching any of the surface inside and when I needed a soft brush to clean my yoga mat the Scrubr T was the perfect solution. I would not say that every piece of debris has rinsed off but what did remain was minimal. I have never detected an odor or any mildew, although I have never put the dishcloth in the washer.
After four outings in the backcountry and almost four months of use at home, the Scrubr T has held up really well with minimal signs of wear.
Like the Trekr T, in the backcountry, I did not find the Scrubr T to be a substitute for my usual method of cleaning my pot with a small scraper and a wet napkin. The Scrubr T did a good job cleaning the pot but my problem came when I had to clean it. Since I had no clean running water in the backcountry, I had to rinse it in a baggie filled with some water and the debris just did not come off very well that way. Where I did love the Scrubr T was at home. I have always had an issue with other scrubbing pads developing an odor very quickly but the Scrubr T has yet to have that problem. It has also held up much longer than previous pads not to mention how quickly it dries. It cleaned everything I needed without scratching anything.
This concludes my test series and I want to thank Lunatec and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Trekr T and Scrubr T.
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